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Marijuana Dispensary Near Superdawg Delayed at Alderman's Request

 City officials are scheduled to decide Thursday whether to allow the dispensary to open.
Medical Marijuana Dispensary Proposed Near Superdawg
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NORWOOD PARK — A proposal to open a medical marijuana dispensary near Superdawg was put on ice by city officials Thursday.

The city's Zoning Board of Appeals agreed to delay a vote on the proposal from Union Group of Illinois to open a dispensary in a vacant storefront at 6428-30 N. Milwaukee Ave. at the request of Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st).

The matter is now scheduled to be heard Aug. 21.

Napolitano, who has been in office 11 days, said the community needed more time to weigh the merits of the proposal, which he has neither endorsed or opposed.

Before agreeing to the delay, Joseph Gattuso, the attorney for Union Group, warned that without a special use permit from the city, state officials could decide to yank the firm's license to operate one of two dispensaries in Jefferson Township, which covers most of the Far Northwest Side.

"We will ask for leniency from the state," Gattuso said.

A majority of those who attended a community meeting May 19 objected to the plan to transform the vacant storefront near Devon and Nagle avenues into a dispensary, and many shouted down those who praised the proposed dispensary as a way for the seriously ill to get access to life-changing medicine.

John Davis, one of three partners in Union Group of Illinois, said the dispensary would be a "good neighbor and a revenue generator" if approved by city officials. The dispensary would be run by Maria Kunz, who owns a home health care business in Skokie.

The dispensary would employ 10 people, and Union Group said it would donate 4 percent of its profits to "local charities and civic groups." The dispensary is expected to bring in $1.6 million in profit in its first year, which would mean $64,000 for local groups, company officials said.

If approved, the dispensary would operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, and be patrolled around the clock by armed guards using a state-of-the-art camera system, officials said.

In addition to adding 21 parking spaces, Union Group plans to build a secure garage to allow marijuana to be delivered to the facility and cash removed. Otherwise, the 21,500-square-foot building would remain unchanged, officials said.

Curative Health has the approval of both the state and city to open a dispensary at 4758 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Jefferson Park, but has yet to open.

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